2008-02-20: Trust Issues


Mohinder_icon.gif Niki_icon.gif

Summary: Niki seeks out Dr. Suresh and demands something he doesn't want to hand over easily.

Date It Happened: February 20th, 2008

Trust Issues

Suresh's Apartment


Despite playing the avoidance game between Primatech and Pinehearst, Mohinder's a lot more relaxed than he has been in awhile. Working out of the mobile lab bestowed upon him by Jack and with Joule's assistance, he's been catching up on personal research and correspondance. Things actually feel normal for a change.

After having seen Molly off to school, Mohinder has returned to the apartment to collect a few files, his laptop, his tape recorder. All in preparation to return to the mobile lab and its contents. He almost feels as if he could do without the funding from either organization, even if realistically, he will require more than cab wages.

Presently, the door to Suresh's apartment is knocked upon abruptly by a feminine hand. In the dark hallway is a woman with a tight blonde ponytail and a black trenchcoat-styled jacket, black high-heeled boots rife with buckles overtop dark jeans. Niki Sanders. She seems impatient as she waits for an answer to her knock, not staying quite still for longer than a second or two.

Necessary items gathered, Mohinder stuffs them into his messenger bag, ready to depart for a few hours. Although the knock at the door puts that idea to a halt for the moment. Checking through the peephole before opening the door, he's surprised to see Niki on the other side. There's the sound of locks coming undone before the door opens and Mohinder smiles at the blonde, "Niki. This is a surprise. Come inside."

Niki doesn't answer — she just steps inside immediately once she's given room enough to. She glances this way and that around the apartment, purposefully, trying to determine quickly whether or not any of the other occupants are home. When she decides they're not, she turns to face Mohinder … without a smile in return, without anything but a hard-set look of determination on her face. She has to play this safe. "The serum that you gave me. Do you have any more of it?"

Mohinder shuts the door behind Niki once she's inside. He frowns when she asks for more of the serum. "Just what I've been studying, to try and discern where I went wrong with the formula. Why do you ask?" He looks at the woman, a faintly suspicious expression in place. The determination on Niki's face has him concerned to say the least.

Niki is poised to ask another question at the speed of lightning, but something Mohinder says makes her stop, thinking back on it. She shifts her bodyweight from one high-heeled boot to the other. "Is it doing any good?" The blonde's eyebrows quickly shoot upwards a fraction. "Have you made progress with it?"

"Not much I'm afraid. It requires testing on you, and I don't want to cause any further damage." Mohinder is firm on this point. Even if this means he is at a bit of an impasse. "Why do you ask about the serum?" He's curious about why Niki's tracked him down this way, practically barging in, and almost seems desperate.

That answer doesn't seem to be quite the one Niki was looking for, since she juts out her chin and frowns for a second. But then, another question is shot at Mohinder. "What would happen if it was used on someone else?"

"There's only one way to find out. Until then, I can only guess." Mohinder folds his arms across his chest and slowly approaches Niki, "You still didn't answer my question. Why are you wanting more of what I gave you initially?"

Niki tenses somewhat the closer Mohinder gets, folding her arms, a rigidness about her posture that's visible even through her coat. It's not borne of a nervous energy, per se, but rather an overall feeling that she doesn't want to be here. An animal pushed into a cage. "Doesn't matter," she snaps, though her voice is flat. "I need you to give it to me," she suddenly demands. Her arms fall to her sides and she stands tall, practically looming at Mohinder, by demeanour, if not height. "All the serum you have left."

Mohinder notices the tensing and stops his approach. "I don't think that's a good idea," he tells Niki in an even tone. "If I were to do anything with it, I should simply destroy it all. It did nothing but cause damage to your mind and left you with no memory of who you are." Telling the woman no was possibly a bad idea, but giving the serum could be an even worse idea. "Why do you need it back? If Pinehearst needs it for research, I'll be more than happy to bring it to them and research it myself in their facilities."

"Mohinder." Niki says harshly, insistently — and familiarly. The way someone speaking to someone they know would speak, not someone they remember meeting once in an exam room. She moves toward the man with reluctance, but moves all the same. One, two, three, click, click, click. Blue eyes lock on Suresh's. "Just tell me where it is."

Mohinder is needless to say, alarmed by the sudden change in Niki's demeanor. He's almost worried that Jessica is making an appearance. "It's put safely away, where it won't harm another person." Until he takes it out. As Niki advances, he retreats a few steps. Namely towards where his Company issue gun is being kept.

"It won't hurt anyone else," Niki replies with a slight break from her harder tone — she's almost reassuring. She advances one more step and holds a hand out in the air not far from her torso — a stop, calm down gesture. "Look. I have my memory back. But it's best if I don't explain. I just need you hand over the rest of the serum."

"Niki, I can't say that I'm feeling any sort of confidence in just handing it over. I would like to know why, and to be a part of what it is you need it for." Mohinder remains skeptical as he watches Niki carefully. He's rather calm, at least on the outside. Inside? His mind is whirling with thoughts as to why it could be needed. "If you have your memories back, for which I would be very pleased to know, you would remember that I wouldn't simply hand over a formula."

Maybe if she rephrases. "It's safer for you if you don't know right now," Niki says, staring down Mohinder with that determined, weighty look of hers. She leans forward on the ball of her foot, advancing on the geneticist in slow motion. No sudden movements! "I know it's … dangerous," she says, shaking her head quickly. "And— that's why I need it. To keep it out of the wrong hands."

Mohinder is needless to say, on his guard. "It won't fall into the wrong hands. I have it locked away and secured." And not in a Company facility. There's an edged smile on his face, an almost bitter expression. "I'm no stranger to danger, Niki. You know this." He doesn't seem inclined towards backing down on this.

Niki doesn't seem inclined to back down either. In fact, with help from Mohinder's answer, his edged smile, his familiarity with danger, the woman urges ahead, teeth grit, rushing ahead to grab for his shirt collar.

While Mohinder is on his guard, somethings just seem to come out of nowhere. Like Niki grabbing him by the front of his collar. Swallowing visibly, and audibly, he dares to press, "Why is it so important that you get this formula? What is it /they/ want with it?" He's going to go out on a limb and guess Pinehearst wants it.

Niki's grip is tight, and she gives Mohinder a rough push back as she steps closer, but it's small, all things considered. Threat more than harm. She doesn't want to be doing this. "This has nothing to do with them." If she could just tell Mohinder everything — her various reasons for wanting this — he'd understand… "I'm going to ask you one last time," she warns, bearing in close as the hand on his shirt collar sneaks up closer to his throat.

Mohinder tries to keep a calm demeanor, even as he knows what Niki's capable of doing. "You can watch me destroy the formula if that's what you want, but I won't just hand it over." Unarmed, his gun is too far, same with any tranquilizers or tazer. "I'll compromise, but not blindly give the formula to you." He raises his hands up to try and pry Niki's grip from his collar, "Or else what?"

Niki's fingers twitch against Mohinder's skin, digging in for just an instant — there's an or else for you — but she doesn't full-out grab his throat like she could. Her hand, however, is immovable as steel. "Take me to it!" She lets go, only to whirl around to Mohinder's side, a hand against his back, clutching the fabric of his shirt.

Mohinder doesn't breathe any easier at the moment, or relax as Niki changes positions and her grip on him. "I confess that you are not instilling any confidence in me about this meeting." He was trying to stall, but it didn't really work well. "I need you blindfolded, as a precaution. I don't want you to see where I've been hiding it." Or the mobile lab.

"No," Niki flat-out will not accept being blindfolded. "Look, I don't care where your … secret hiding place is," she says, giving Mohinder a whirl around by the shoulder so he's facing her again. "Keep some in the name of science, whatever, just give me the rest."

"You may not care, but I do," Mohinder says flatly before he's whirled about to face Niki. "How do I know that you haven't been sent by them to ambush me? How do I know that this isn't a setup?" The geneticist doesn't mean to be paranoid, but circumstances have done that to him. "The least you could do is tell me why it's so important that you have it."

Niki has two reasons for doing this; two sides to play. If she tells Mohinder either story, she's taking the risk of being caught in a lie from one of those two sides. Suffice to say, she has her reasons for being paranoid too. And so, she remains on vague territory. "To do the right thing," she says with conviction. "It's not a setup. No one knows I'm here. I know it's hard to trust me right now, but it's that or— " The woman breaks her glare on Mohinder to glance away, faintly discomfited … but no less determined when she looks back at him. "If I have to hurt you, I will."

"Niki.. I'm not finished with my research on it. If I destroy it now, I have to start from the beginning. It has been an important step in understanding how abilities work, and perhaps the key to unlock their removal for those who wish it." Mohinder continues to stand his ground, but the more he thinks about it, the less he wants to destroy the formula right now. "Hurting me will get you nowhere, but closer to becoming the monster you tried to avoid becoming."

Niki may or may not zone out somewhere in the middle of Mohinder's speech on the serum. By the end of his words, however, she's considering, frozen in the moment between standing still and rushing at him again. He's safe, for now. "What if I told you— " she ventures, "I need it for backup." Her jaw tenses. "Not for me. Before you can say it's not tested or it's dangerous or any of that other stuff, it's not the point!"

"Backup?" Color Mohinder confused, but he has an idea of just who Niki may need it as backup against. "What if I give you some, leaving me with enough to continue testing with?" Of course, Niki needn't know if he just fills the vial with standard saline solution or placebo.

"I just said— " Niki is losing her patience, holding her breath tensely for a few seconds before she gestures, palm splayed, at Mohinder and says, "So you'll take me to it?" It sounds like a demand, but there's a hint of hope under all that forcefulness. "Don't even mention blindfolds. No more … running around in circles. Now or never."

"Fine. Let's go." Grabbing his keys, Mohinder has no intention of taking Niki to his mobile lab. He's going to take her to the lab on Reed Street. This could come back to bite him on the arse in the future, but for now, it seems like a good idea. Take Niki to the wrong lab, and give her a formula substitute.

Niki had started to trust Mohinder again, once. Now, she's finding it increasingly difficult — and disastrous — to trust anyone. Almost anyone. With a chary look that still holds some of her former threat, she follows. Closely.

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